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Fire kills five in plaza in E. China's Fujian
Updated: 2008-12-17 14:38

HANJIANG, Fujian -- Five people died on Wednesday in a plaza fire of undetermined cause in east China's Fujian Province, local authorities said.

The fire originated in a small cloth store in the Hanjiang District of Putian City shortly after midnight. It took firefighters five hours to put out the blaze, which spread over 1,500 sq m, according to the Hanjiang Information Office.

Officials said five people died on the scene. Their identities were not immediately released. No injuries were reported.

The store owner is being held in custody during an investigation into the cause of the fire. A team of 50 social security and civil affairs officials were discussing compensation with the victims' families and other store owners who experienced losses as a result of the fire.

Fires killed 1,198 people in China in the first 11 months of 2008, down 7.1 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Public Security said Tuesday.

It said electricity was the major cause of fires, accounting for one third of the cases, with other reasons including carelessness, smoking and spontaneous combustion.